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OPINION

308 Million

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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The U.S. Census Bureau announced yesterday that as of April 1, 2010 there were 308,745,538 people living in the United States - the result of the 2010 census which is required by the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 2:

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[An] Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

In clause three of that section, the Constitution originally stated Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Indentured servants (those bound to service for a term of years) were considered whole people. The "all other persons" referred to were, of course, slaves, who were only counted as 60 percent of a person for the purposes of apportionment.

That was fixed by Section 2 of the 14th Amendment which changed Article I, Section 2 to read:

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.

The results of the first census, conducted in 1790 showed there were 3,929,214 people in the 16 states and territories, including 694,280 slaves.

Later Census figures were:
1800 - 5,308,483
1900 - 76,303,387
2000 - 281,421,906

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OK. That catches you up. Now to the effects of this enumeration: Areas of the country which tend to be Republican have gained population. Areas which tend to be Democrat have lost population.

I have to write this every so often to remember what it means, so don't take offense: "Apportionment" is the number of Members of Congress each state gets. "Redistricting" is how lines are drawn within each state to define each of those Representatives' Congressional districts.

According to the Clerk of the House, The current size of the U.S. Congress, 435 voting Members, has been in effect since 1913 when there were 48 states. Arizona and New Mexico had been added in early 1912.

After the dust settled, two states - Texas and Florida - gained more than a single seat. Texas was the big winner gaining enough population to add four Congressional seats bring the delegation to 36 from its current size of 32. Florida will add two seats and now have 27 Members of Congress.

Six other states, according to the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, will each gain one seat:

Arizona (now 9), Georgia (now 14), Nevada (now 4), South Carolina (7) , Utah (4) and Washington (10).

The biggest losers, each losing two seats, will be New York (now 27) and Ohio (now 16).

To show you how the population has shifted, since 1950 New York has lost 18 seats (45 to 27) and Ohio has lost eight seats since 1970, and Pennsylvania has lost fully half its seats (36 to 18) since 1930.

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As the result of the election in November which added Governors and State Legislatures to the GOP column, Cillizza writes:

Republicans control the redistricting process in eight of 18 states that are gaining or losing seats, while Democrats control it in just two.

The rest, I assume, have splits between the State House and State Senate and/or the party affiliation of the legislature and the Governor.

That means the GOP has the ability to alter the districts within those states they control to throw the maximum number of Democrats into the minimum number of Congressional Districts and spread the GOP areas out among the rest of the Districts.

Put another way:

Five of the eight states that are gaining seats were won by McCain in the 2008 presidential race. Eight of the 10 that are losing seats went to Obama.

As of last night there were 39,211 readers on the Mullings e-mail database. That means I have a growth potential of 308,706,327 people.

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